February 25, 2008

McCain's Dinner Surge

A guy wants to go out to an expensive restaurant. The reviews on the restaurant are mixed, and the wife has some doubts. But the husband hunts and hunts until he finds a positive review, embellishes it a bit and reads it to her. She suspends her misgivings. So they end up going.

The appetizer is expensive. It’s stuffed mushrooms, and the mushrooms taste pretty good! Not very filling, though, because, oddly, the stuffing is missing. The husband declares his restaurant choice a success!

Then the wine comes out. It’s like vinegar. The main courses take much, much longer than expected, so they’re sitting there with the lousy wine for almost an hour. When the main courses arrive, the restaurant says that they’re out of forks, so they’re going to have to eat their dinners with spoons and knives. The main courses are awful. The food is served lukewarm, one of the orders is completely wrong and they taste horrible. There is a tradition at this restaurant that you have to eat everything on your plate. It’s excruciating, long and drawn out.

The husband realizes that they’re going to be there a while longer, so he decides to order dessert early. It’s chocolate mousse with whipped cream and a cherry on top. The chef seems to have forgotten the sugar in the mousse; it’s extremely bitter. The whipped cream has curdled and gone sour.

However, the cherry, right out of a jar from the supermarket, is good.

The wife begins to complain about the restaurant. “You said this was a good restaurant.”

“Well, that’s what I thought at the time. In any case, you’re exaggerating your complaints.”

The wife says “Exaggerating? I can’t believe you went ahead and ordered this horrible dessert after this disgusting meal!”

The husband replies, “I thought you liked cherries!”

John McCain said Monday that to win the White House he must convince a war-weary country that U.S. policy in Iraq is succeeding. If he can’t, “then I lose. I lose,” the Republican said. He quickly backed off that remark.

What that practically means is that he’s going to try to convince people that the whole “war on terror” is represented by the most recent surge policy that he advocated in Iraq.

Now, this seems clear to me, but for some reason it’s fooled at least a few other people. McCain wanted a surge of troops sent to Iraq so that news of violence in certain areas would drop temporarily at a key time which would help him try to gloss over the historical tragedy of this war in dollars in lives. He can use that in debates and on the campaign trail, and hope you’ll forget how we got here.

Forget about how bad an idea this war was. Forget how it’s helped Iran. Forget the mistakes in execution. Forget the American lives that will continue to be lost. Forget that Iraqi political efforts are delayed, delayed, delayed, nonexistent or miniscule. Forget that political progress was the advertised point of the surge. Forget the economy, jobs, education, health care… Forget that Iraq has sucked resources from the war in Afghanistan and money from our government. And vote back in the people who gave us this war in the first place.

He wants you to forget by changing the subject. The unsustainable surge, not the war. His advocates will say that the past mistakes are old news. He’ll argue that he, the Republican with the “experience,” is better suited to provide the illusion of what no president or person can ever promise: security and safety. Well, the experience of Republican leadership is something we all have, now. What does “experience” mean? Experience at making bad decisions, and not learning from them? Experience throwing more lives at the problem to provide cover for a stalled political process?

How are the American people going to forget all that?

Posted by James at February 25, 2008 4:32 PM
Create Social Bookmark Links
Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Dang. I think you posted this before I tweeted it. I can't believe this guy is banking on the war as his best hope for getting elected. Maybe he WANTS a Democrat to win.

Posted by: Julie at February 25, 2008 6:26 PM

Nope - I wrote this after seeing your tweet. I immediately thought of the analogy.

You can only tell people to ignore problems for so long before they change their minds about cutting you slack.

McCain, by being the Republican nominee and adopting the same line on Iraq, wants to inherit all of Bush's baggage. Good luck with that.

Believe it or not, it's a bargain for him. Because it's either that, or conservatives will focus on all the other non-war stuff where they haven't seen eye-to-eye with McCain. Economy, budget, immigration, etc. The war is actually one place where he has more in common with the core of his base.

Seems like he wants to focus on that minority who think the Iraq war was a good idea, a nice break from the Afghanistan war, and it's been going so well. And, if you want to vote for McCain, you can join that club, too!

So, focusing on the

Posted by: James at February 25, 2008 6:46 PM

While I like cherries too, it would take a really fabulous cherry to make me forget about a particularly crappy meal. However, some people are more easily distracted than I am, particularly if the distractor is a good salesman.

Sadly, the Presidential election has finally degraded into mud wrestling. It's getting harder and harder to like anyone. By the time November rolls around, we'll all be back to debating which of the lesser-of-evils to choose.

Posted by: Kitten Herder at February 26, 2008 8:54 AM

Well, it is shocking how many people think that it's an honor to be given a cherry by someone who has otherwise been treating them like crap. It reminds me of the kids in school who were flattered when the mean kids invited them to sit at their lunch table and be ridiculed.

Posted by: Julie at February 26, 2008 11:08 AM

All it takes is one side throwing mud, and people start to lose interest in the election as they get disgusted. This is what Swift Boating is really all about -- not just tarring the other candidate but gaming the democratic process by reducing participation. Suppress the vote enough and you get the apathy on which Bush rode into office.

Posted by: James at February 26, 2008 11:41 AM

Wow, James, that's really insightful. It does spread the feeling of disgust and apathy. Interesting strategy.

Posted by: Maggie at February 26, 2008 2:35 PM

Copyright © 1999-2007 James P. Burke. All Rights Reserved